Thursday, January 15, 2015

Springfield Republican: MODOT funding gap will have to be addressed

(From Rep. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield)

It’s something we already suspected, but officials from the Missouri Department of Transportation officially confirmed this week that our state has a serious funding problem in regard to our transportation infrastructure. According to transportation officials, our state will have only $325 million per year to pay for our roads and bridges. Contrast that with the figure they say we need to do the job properly - $485 million – and you can see there is a significant funding gap that will have to be addressed.

For now, the department plans to make do with the funds they have available. Under a proposal they are considering, that would mean fully maintaining 8,000 miles of roads in our state that will be designated as primary, and providing only limited maintenance to the 26,000 miles of roads designated as supplementary. To give you some idea of what limited maintenance would involve, it would include snow removal, patching of potholes, striping and re-striping. However, with this proposal, a majority of our roadways in our state would not receive the maintenance they need to stay in top condition.

We are all very concerned about this funding shortfall. As the newly named Chair of the Committee on Appropriation for Economic Development, Revenue, Transportation, Labor and Insurance it will be a priority and we will spend a significant amount of time discussing potential funding solutions this year. Keep in mind that voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal in August for a three-quarter cent state sales tax for transportation, and that our state budget has very limited room when it comes to redirecting general revenue funds. The result is that we will have some tough choices to make in the coming months. I will keep you updated as the discussion develops, but also feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts or suggestions on this issue that is of great importance to all of us who use our roads on a regular basis.


Anonymous said...

Until the Legislature figures things out, the public will not vote for more money. Heck, after the tax cut comes into play, they will next have to cut clearing the roads during smow/ice storms.

fred reiss said...

Since Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 in 2004, MoDOT has been on a construction binge. Adding in ARRA funds (stimulus) just compounded MoDOT's thirst for spending our tax dollars. After 2009, when Amendment 3 dollars became fully funded, MoDOT issued bonds for the construction of many projects to be paid back from future revenues. Now MoDOT's debt service (bond payments) exceeds $300 million per year and will remain so well past 2020.
Factor in that $300 million dollar expense to how it affects federal reimbursements, and MoDOT's construction budget would increase by $1.2 billion.
The fact is, MoDOT has maxed out their credit card, have a big payment to make, and want us to give them some other sort of raise (tax increase, new tax) so they can continue their construction binge.
This is a problem with the management and direction of MoDOT. It's no wonder their current director has announced his retirement after less than two years at the helm.